Europe

Norway closes borders and ports with Russian transport

Given the long-standing border cooperation between Russia and Norway, which would not have been possible just two months ago, Russia then invaded one of its neighboring countries, Ukraine. Now, the Norwegian government has finally decided to follow the EU, closing the transport of Russian goods and its borders, and closing the ports to Russian vessels except fishing vessels.

Norway and Russia share the Far North border and Russia’s freight transport is currently banned. Photo: newsinenglish.no/MortenMøst

It was a difficult decision for Norway. It interrupted years of cross-border cooperation even during the Cold War, and since the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s and Russia was opened up for more business and trade. Kirkenes, the northern Norwegian city closest to the Russian border, could have been hit hardest by the closure of the port and suffered financially, but was relieved that Russian fishing vessels could still be docked. Most of the customers of one local shipyard are Russian fishing vessels.

But as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine prolongs, Russia may even attack Kieu while the UN Secretary-General is visiting on Thursday, and Norwegian law states that Norway will transport all goods. Is on the list of sanctions finally revised in a way that makes it possible to comply with EU sanctions that block. It came into effect shortly after Friday’s weekly National Council between the government and Harald V, and the Strskog border station, just east of Kirkenes, was immediately closed for all trucks from Russia.

“Introducing the EU’s fifth sanctions package in Norway.” Foreign Minister Aniken Whitfeld announced as a whole. “This means that Storskog was immediately closed to freight and the long list of chemicals was banned.”

She said she made an exception to the Arctic Archipelago of the Svalbard Islands, which Norway controls through international treaties. The ban on mainland Norway does not affect countries that signed the Svalbard Treaty in 1925, including the former Soviet Union. Russia decided in 1992 to continue as a signatory to the treaty.

Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (left) and former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stortemberg ceremonially walk the Russian-Norwegian border in Storskog in 2013, when Russia-Norway relations were still fairly friendly. Did. Today, the increasingly aggressive Vladimir Putin is the President of Russia, and Stoltemberg is the Secretary General of NATO. Photo: Utenriksdepartementet

Meanwhile, the Norwegian port will be able to access all Russian vessels, except those related to the fishing industry, from May 7th, receive the necessary fuel and supplies for eight days, and be able to reroute. Fisheries Minister Bjørnar Skjæran emphasized that the EU has exempted fishing vessels and told the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) that exceptions are of particular importance to Norway, giving the two countries “special cooperation” on fishing in the Valentz Sea. It pointed out. This means that fishing vessels returning from the North Sea can be moored in Norway as needed and the Norwegian shipyards can be used for repairs and maintenance. Only those owned by Russians specifically identified on the EU sanctions list or those on board a sanctioned Russian will be rejected.

Huitfeldt told NRK that he did not expect Russia’s reaction. “This is a collective reaction from the EU to the illegal invasion of Ukraine,” she said. “This is a foreseeable Norwegian policy.”

Otherwise, port closures will be mostly blocked Russian tankers, bulk carriers, cargo ships, and seismic vessels showing the seabed. Since Russian fishing vessels make up the majority of vessels sailing in Norwegian ports, the NRK estimated that about 40% of all Russian vessels would be subject to the new sanctions. Nonetheless, Skjæran argued that Norway was the strongest sanctions ever imposed on other countries.

The EU, which Norway has not yet participated in but is working closely with, has approved the latest sanctions package that Norway is following on April 8. Several opposition parties in parliament are urging the government to continue adopting it, along with Liberal MP Ola Elvestuen, who claims that Norway has stopped Russia’s transport and blocked Russian ships too late. He believes Russian fishing vessels should also be blocked. “That’s what Ukrainians now need, who defend our common freedoms in their lives.”

Others also claim that the government took too long Obey the EU, even if Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has already indicated that Norway will. Mr. Storre, who has promoted cooperation between the Labor Party with both the Soviet Union and Russia for decades, said it was important to continue cooperation at sea and in ports.

“It’s good to conclude that the government will eventually introduce port restrictions,” former Defense and Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Solade told the NRK. “Conservatives have long sought this, and we’ve been giving our support to the government for weeks.” She is now heading the Parliamentary Foreign and Defense Commission, which the government said. I think it’s too late to act.

Some are concerned that sanctions that currently primarily affect tankers and other merchant ships may threaten maritime safety. Russian vessels have typically asked Norwegian ports to refuel, buy supplies and change crew. “These are absolutely necessary to operate a ship,” Ståle Sveinungsen of the Norwegian Maritime Transportation Center told NRK. “If a ship runs out of fuel, they can drift ashore, and that’s of course what we don’t want.” Huitfeldt says it’s a ship that deals with safety and needs help. Insisted that you would get.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund

https://www.newsinenglish.no/2022/04/29/norway-closes-borders-and-harbours-to-russian-transport/ Norway closes borders and ports with Russian transport

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